EC chief says will have a relook at ties with Facebook

Discussions likely to take place either Friday or in the start of next week

The Hush Post: In the wake of serious concerns of data breach on social networking site Facebook, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has given hints that the poll panel may have a relook at its ties with the American social networking site. This development comes post the news of data breach that appeared recently.

OP Rawat
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat. Photo courtesy The Indian Express

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O P Rawat reportedly told The Indian Express on Thursday that the matter of EC’s ties with the social networking giant, for roping in young voters in the election process, will be taken up soon at an EC meet. Speaking to The Indian Express,

“We will be considering this issue in its entire dimension in the Commission meeting,” The Indian Express quoted Rawat as saying. He also indicated the discussions are likely to take place either Friday or in the start of next week.

On being asked whether the EC was concerned about data breach allegations and being used to influence the voters, the poll panel chief said, “Definitely, Something which can affect the election arena in an adverse manner, like public opinion being moulded, this should concern us and we will take a view on this.”

Notably, there have been allegations and counter-allegations between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the allege use of services London–based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Union IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had warned the Facebook of stern action if the social networking site tries of influence the election process of India.

In a related development, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also had admitted that the social network “made mistakes” that led to millions of Facebook users having their data exploited by a political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Also the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg appeared on CNN on Wednesday evening to address the mishandling of user data by the London-based firm. Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly using the data on behalf of political clients. He said that he was “really sorry” for the “major breach of trust.” His comments follow days of criticism about the company’s handling of the situation.

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